Monday, February 05, 2007

The Way the Cookie Crumbles

A few weeks ago, I got this crazy idea in my head to go on a chocolate baking spree for Valentine’s Day so that I would have plenty of baked goods to ship to friends or to share at work.

Never mind that the Christmas cookie baking wrapped up just over a month ago. Never mind that I was ready to swear off sweets by the first of the year.

I lied. I do that.

What can I say? I love to bake, and though I may take breathers once in a while, inevitably I’ll head back to the kitchen, ready to try something new. My name is the Baklava Queen, and I’m a bake-aholic.

Anyway, back to the chocolate. While I love all the things I make at Christmas, I almost never bake anything with chocolate then because for me, chocolate just doesn’t seem like an appropriate ingredient for Christmas goodies (aside from my Fabulous Aunt’s buckeyes, of course).

But with Valentine’s Day approaching, the various chocolates and cocoas in my cupboard (10 at last count) started making an infernal racket, begging and pleading to be used. It’s the time of year when I can even be tempted to host the Chocolate Potluck and pull out all the stops with a truly decadent creation.

So I reviewed my recipes and decided on three different chocolate concoctions to bake, and tonight I started with a favorite from recent years: chocolate-peanut butter-chocolate chip-peanut cookies.

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? My love of chocolate combined with peanut butter is well documented, and these little cookies satisfy that craving very nicely, thank you.

I found the recipe in Death by Chocolate a few years ago, and it’s really quite simple (though I’ll not reprint it here due to copyright restrictions). Start with a creamed mixture of butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar, and add melted chocolate chips, an egg, and vanilla.

Mix in the flour, baking soda, peanuts, and chocolate chips, and then shape the dough into small lumps (mine are never perfectly round, you see).

Bake, cool, and eat. Pretty straightforward, really. You end up with a chocolate-laden little cookie with a texture like a thick shortbread, easily crumbled, and punctuated by salty peanuts. I love ‘em.

They keep well, which is why they’re my first choice for Valentine packages heading across the country, and they can be frozen and thawed for later snacking (if they last that long).

By the end of the week, I should have my chocolate craving under control once more.

But until then, stay tuned for more adventures in baking.

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